Paulie Malignaggi's Picks: Ennis can't be relied on to carry the torch from Crawford and Spence

Jaron “Boots” Ennis has been described as the “future” of the welterweight division, but even with Terence Crawford and Errol Spence fighting later this month, I don’t necessarily see it that way.

It feels like “Boots” has lost a little bit of steam recently. He’s looked disinterested – which can happen, given the politics surrounding Crawford-Spence meant everything else at 147lbs being held up. Vergil Ortiz, who could yet rival him, and Ennis had been forced to wait their turn, and did so so much that the ability of even a terrific fighter like Ennis to become a star has been put at risk. 

Ortiz’s cancelled match-up with Eimantas Stanionis looked a more entertaining one than Crawford-Spence, despite the name recognition of Crawford-Spence. Theirs could have been the welterweight fight of the busy month just starting at 147lbs.

Roiman Villa, Ennis’ opponent, upset Rashidi Ellis in January. Ellis is quick, but in a lot of respects a poor-man’s version of Ennis – he doesn’t have his firepower, and isn’t as tight or as well-conditioned. Ellis’ style would have made him a better test for Ennis than Villa. Ennis beats them both, but Villa won’t trouble Ennis at all.

It was a source of frustration that Ennis and Ortiz were scheduled to fight on different promotions on the same date. If they’re the future, why risk their potential audiences being reduced? It’s also a source of frustration that it seems unlikely either of them will ever fight Crawford or Spence.

Paulie Malignaggi's Picks: Ennis can't be relied on to carry the torch from Crawford and Spence

Photo: Mikey Williams / Top Rank Inc.

At heavyweight, Jared Anderson has also been described as the “future”, and in 10 rounds against Charles Martin got a positive learning experience and showed some of the flaws he needs to work on. 

Martin has deceptive power and an unorthodox southpaw stance, and as an ex-world champion was always going to prove more effective than he is given credit for and capable of testing Anderson, who not only won but should have learned a lesson or two – which is also better than the tougher lessons that come with losing. 

It’s less of a concern that Anderson, given his inexperience, didn’t beat Martin as convincingly as other fighters like Anthony Joshua and Luis Ortiz did. The bigger cause for concern was that he got hurt to the extent he did in the fifth round.

Anderson has shown all of the physical tools, but he still needs to prove he has the necessary mental tools to fulfil the potential we like to believe he has. In that recent footage with Roy Jones Jr he said he didn’t ask to be that guy – if he doesn’t want to be I don’t know why he started boxing. Whenever anyone starts they should be dreaming of being that guy, so if he didn’t then I also don’t understand why he stayed in it. 

Anderson-Martin came at the end of a week in which we learned Jermell, not Jermall, Charlo will be fighting Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September. Canelo has all of the titles at super middleweight but already wasn’t giving the fans the fight they wanted against David Benavidez, and by agreeing to fight Charlo he has also contributed to costing us Charlo-Tim Tszyu. Charlo’s a very skilful fighter, but it’s not easy to move up two weight classes – weight classes exist for a reason, even if they’re being respected less and less. That news, overall, was very disappointing.